Posted: Mon 11th May 2020

First Minister Mark Drakeford ‘concerned’ over confusion between lockdown messaging in England and Wales

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Monday, May 11th, 2020

Differences in the lockdown messaging between England and Wales is a cause for concern First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has said today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a pre-recorded update on Sunday evening where he set out some details of “a conditional plan” for easing lockdown measures.

The PM’s address was aimed to giving the public some hope about how and when the lockdown measures could end.

Although his statement did not explicitly say it, the majority of what the PM outlined was specific to just England.

So far there have been some small differences in policy between UK and devolved governments but, one key difference emerged on the back of Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday.

He said: “From this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise ….. You can drive to other destinations” which is still against lockdown rules Wales.

During a press briefing in Cardiff today, Mark Drakeford: “There has been lots of focus over the weekend about the differences in the way in which the regulations are being updated in Wales, and in other parts of the United Kingdom.”

“The stay at home regulations remain in place, all parts of the United Kingdom are this week making very small adjustments to the current regulations, and those incremental changes all move in the same direction.

“However, there are some differences in the messaging between England and Wales which I am concerned may cause confusion.”

The First Minister said: “We have concerns traffic flow into Wales could continue to increase as a result of the Prime Minister’s announcement that travel to exercise will be allowed in England.

“Now I just wanted to be clear, in Wales it is Welsh law that apply us travelling to Wales to exercise is not to exercise locally.

“We will use whatever means are available to convey this message including signs on the major roads and motorways and articles we hope to place in local newspapers across our border.”

Mr Drakeford also revealed there had been a “distinct” increase in traffic levels across Wales over the bank holiday weekend and a rise in alcohol related violence.

He said: “This morning I received my weekly update from the four police chief constables in Wales, as we do regularly from the police and crime commissioners

“They have reported a distinct increase in activity over the bank holiday weekend particularly after many UK national newspapers last Thursday reported a major easing of the lockdown was just on the horizon.

“They also saw an increase in alcohol related violence associated with VE Day celebrations and increased traffic across areas of the road network.”

You can watch the full press briefing here:

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones also said he was concerned that people in England will now be allowed to travel outside their local area to take exercise.

He said the UK government had created a “total shambles” and fears people from across the border will now be encouraged to head to the region’s mountains and coast.

Mr Jones said: “It’s going to be difficult to differentiate between people who live in North Wales and those who travel over the border. It’s a total shambles.

“We need to specify the travel for leisure and exercise in Wales is still non-essential and they still commit and offence by doing what is legal in England.

“We need further guidance from Westminster and Cardiff.”

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